‘Healing Voices’ screened in Ronkonkoma for Mental Health Awareness Week

One in every four adults experiences a mental illness each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. To bring awareness and education to the issue, the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (AMHW) has hosted a Mental Health Awareness Week for the last three years to “shine the light on mental health,” according to their website.

This year the week took place earlier this month from Oct. 2 to Oct. 8, with awareness walks, veteran’s events and a film screening of “Healing Voices” on Oct. 7 at 6:15 p.m.. Tracy Puglisi, the Coordinator of Peer Wellness and Recovery Education at the AMHW, felt it was important to screen the 2014 movie as a part of the week. “The thing about this film is that anyone can be subjected to mental health issues, mental illness,” Puglisi said about why she chose it.

A dozen Long Island residents poured into the AMHW’s building earlier this month in Ronkonkoma to watch the one hour and 40 minute film, all visibly engaged, with some emotional at times during the screening.

“Every time I see it I learn something different,” said Celia Brown, mental health advocate and a part of the “Healing Voices” film. After the documentary was over, Brown and Puglisi led a discussion with the audience to discuss the issue of mental illness treatment and peer support during the healing process, which the film highlights.

“Support is so essential to recovery,” said Puglisi. The AMHW hosts various support groups and trainings for the community, to advocate for those who wish to recover without the use of medication.

“Peer support, it changes things. It doesn’t cost anything to get people together to support each other,” said Michael Stoltz, the CEO of the AMHW. “I’m so happy that we can have this dialogue. Tracy is a big part of pushing us to get better and better by having this dialogue, having films like this.”

Mental Health Awareness Week concluded with a March for Mental Health in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 10.